Lynch back at camp
RENTON, Wash. — Marshawn Lynch was back on the Seattle Seahawks practice fields Friday morning.
He was once again just a spectator.
Lynch watched the Seahawks go through a one-hour, no-pads practice on Friday a day after showing up at the team’s facility and ending his weeklong training camp holdout in the hopes of getting changes to his contract.
Seattle cut wide receiver Randall Carroll to clear a spot on the 90-man roster and accommodate Lynch’s return.
“Our run game is predicated on Marshawn’s run style and what he does,” Seahawks running backs coach Sherman Smith said. “I’m just glad he’s back.”
Lynch was scheduled to make up to $5.5 million this season in base pay and roster bonuses. It’s the third year of a four-year deal Lynch signed before the 2012 season.
NFL.com and Pro Football Talk reported that Lynch’s holdout did come with some financial gain and that $1 million in incentives for the 2014 season was turned into guaranteed money with an additional $500,000 to be paid in 2015 added to this season. So now, Lynch will make $6.5 million in salary for 2014.
The team has not indicated whether Lynch will still be required to pay the fine for each day of camp he missed. He could be penalized $30,000 for each day he was absent. Lynch didn’t speak to reporters on Friday.
“He’s going to be ready to go,” wide receiver Jermaine Kearse said. “I’m pretty sure he’s already in shape. I’m pretty sure he’s been training hard.”
As much as Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman have become the most well-known players on Seattle’s roster, Lynch has in many ways been the face of the franchise since his arrival via trade during the 2010 season. That was evident on Friday as Lynch’s No. 24 jersey littered the grassy berm as fans watched practice.
Lynch walked out of a side door at the team’s practice facility about 15 minutes into Friday’s practice wearing blue sweats, a snapback hat and a practice jersey. The sold-out crowd cheered.
He spent the next hour chatting with teammates and walked off the field arm-in-arm with Sherman.
Lynch will be eased into camp. He hasn’t had a carry in a Seahawks uniform since a 1-yard carry late in the third quarter of Seattle’s Super Bowl win over Denver. He skipped all of the optional team activities in the spring — as he has at times in the past — but only showed up for the mandatory June minicamp to avoid paying a hefty fine.
“He’ll be ready to practice soon,” Smith said.
Lynch sat out of the minicamp with what coach Pete Carroll said was a sore ankle, but it was apparent then that Lynch wanted changes to his contract situation knowing this could be his last year with the Seahawks.
His age, 28, the amount of pounding Lynch has taken in his career and his salary cap number could lead to a separation between the team and player after this season.
But that’s in the future. For now, Seattle has its full complement of running backs going forward and will get an opportunity in the preseason to see what Robert Turbin and Christine Michael could add to supplement Lynch.
“Marshawn doesn’t do a lot of running in the preseason,” Smith said. “That’s the way it’s going to be. Nothing’s going to change. Absolutely nothing.”
Turbin is the bigger of the two backups and more proven, having held the job as Lynch’s teammate for the past two seasons. Michael was drafted in the second round in 2012 because his mix of speed and power were too unique for Seattle to pass up, but barely saw the field last season as he struggled with the transition between college and the NFL.
Seattle indicated during the offseason a desire to spread out the carries more. That could be important early in the season to help keep Lynch as rested as possible for a closing stretch to the season that includes two games against Arizona, two games against San Francisco and a Week 17 matchup against St. Louis in the final six weeks of the season.
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